A Thoughtful Faith - Mormon / LDS

Without any effort to contextualize or indigenize the LDS Church in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Māori are often asked to accept ways of being that get imported from Utah.  This 'Utah' worldview is too often presented to LDS Māori as the way Jesus Christ would do things and is called the 'Gospel Culture.'   

But the effect of the 'Gospel Culture' is to alienate Māori from those ways of being that support Māori well-being.   This lack of interest in Māori ways of being Mormon bears all of the hallmarks of religious and spiritual colonization.


Dr. Byron Rangiwai, Dr. Nepia Mahuika and TeRata Hikairo discuss LDS Church practices, policies and discipline through the lens of Tikanga Māori.  

Direct download: Maori_CD_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:45pm MDT

Advent marks the beginning of the Church year, and Jody England Hansen and Melissa Beh join me to discuss the Way of Love as part of our Advent Study series.

This week we found ourselves discussing the feminine journey of the Way of Love and that defining moment when two surprised and expectant mothers (Mary and Elizabeth) meet to affirm each other's journey with blessing.

Direct download: Advent_2_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:48pm MDT

Lawyer Tim Kosnoff, recently remarked that he thought that churches largely were harmless.  That was until he uncovered a system of cover-ups, and he witnessed first hand the immoral and callous lengths that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will go to deny the rights of sexual abuse victims to seek justice.

Tom and Juliette were an ordinary family in Michael Jensen's Mormon community when they were asked to provide a home for him.

What they didn't know was that they were harbouring a paedophile with prior convictions and numerous criminal allegations of sexual assault and abuse against him.  What surprised and horrified them was that their church leaders had known of his abuses for years and they said nothing.

With Tim Kosnoff at their side, they took the LDS Church on in court and what they experienced was shocking and life-changing.

Direct download: Juliette_Tom_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:01pm MDT

In the United Kingdom, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a registered Charity overseen by the Charity Commission.  This means it is must provide a public benefit and it needs to be transparent.

But the LDS Church in the UK is anything but transparent and rather than present the accounts to its membership for discussion it observes the mandatory public reporting regulations but doesn't tell all interested parties of its availability.  And there's good reason because a decent look at the accounts reveals a concerted effort to carry on its activities in the United Kingdom as if it were a US corporation sole with no public accountability.

In this discussion, Chris Mace joins me once again to dive into the public record to see what the latest figures and sums reveal about the LDS Church's financial operations in the United Kingdom.

Direct download: Chris_Mace_Update_UK_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:55pm MDT

A few years ago, Nancy Ross and Jessica Finnigan set about trying to find out something about the relationship that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have with their temple garments.   Around 4,500 Mormons responded to their question "What do your garments mean to you?"

Out of the survey data emerged some very strong themes, and to discuss their research Nancy Ross and Jessica Finnigan join me for a very interesting discussion about Mormon underwear.

Direct download: Ross_Finnigan_Temple_Garments_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:23pm MDT

Mark Pugsley is a lawyer in Salt Lake City Utah who specialises in recovering money lost by investors due to bad advice or misconduct.
He has represented victims of investment fraud and unsuitable investment recommendations in civil litigation, whistleblower cases, and receivership (clawback) cases for over twenty years.  

Mark reports that Affinity Fraud is a big problem in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints community and he’s repeatedly called on leaders of the LDS Church to be more proactive in warning church members that they need to carefully evaluate investment opportunities on their merits, regardless of who is pitching them.

Direct download: Mark_Pugsley_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:34pm MDT

Sara Hughes-Zabawa offers a guided meditation to accompany our journeys into Stage Four:  The Individuative-Reflective stage of faith.

Direct download: Stage_Four.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:31pm MDT

Sara Hughes-Zabawa returns to discuss one of the most emotionally and spiritually challenging stages in Fowler's Stages of Faith;  the development of an Individuative-Reflective Faith.   In high demand or fundamentalist faith traditions Stage Four is poorly understood and often poorly responded to by families,  hurch friends and leadership.

Sarah calls for the celebration and normalisation of the individuative-reflective stage of faith and for more openness and acceptance of its necessity in everyone's spiritual becoming.

Direct download: sarahughes-zabawa_Stage_Four_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:27pm MDT

As my interview with spiritual trauma therapy specialist Kathleen Shannon will indicate, a definition for religious abuse is difficult to nail it down.  But according to Caswell and Swindle (2018) religious abuse occurs within three categories. 

  1. Abuse perpetrated by religious leaders.
  2. Abuse perpetrated by a religious group.
  3. Abuse with a religious or spiritual component.

There is a good amount of literature about religious and spiritual abuse and what comes up, again and again, is that firstly, religious abuse is ubiquitous in conservative and fundamentalist faith traditions.  And secondly, religious abuse has a profound effect on personal well being and mental health.

In this interview, Kathleen and I will be talking about the dominant forms of religious abuse which are:

  1. Power-posturing and authoritarianism
  2. Double Talk and hypocrisy.
  3. Lifestyle rigidity and a preoccupation with performance.
  4. Top-down communication and the control of doubt and dissent.
  5. Image control and the pressure to keep everything looking sweet.
  6. The tendency to think that everyone has to wrong but your group.
  7. Legalism.
  8. The extra religious tax on women.

What’s interesting in this interview is that as two people who come from two different backgrounds we soon realise that we have a great deal in common.  Which begs many questions about what is going on society that Christianity that denominations have been captured by a form of church that has great potential to cause harm.

 

 

Direct download: kathleen_shannon_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:41pm MDT

Jan Tyler has been an active campaigner for women's rights since the early 1970's.

Her first job was at Weber State University as the Women's Dean.  It was there that she met the incoming President, Joseph Bishop.  He became so problematic that she eventually hired a lawyer and took out a discrimination case against him.

She was later employed by BYU where she went head to head with Dallin Oaks (the then president) over women's rights.   She took three top Utah State administrators to court over sex discrimination.  And as the head of the coordinating committee for the Utah International Women's Year convention in 1975, she stood for women's rights against a 13,000 strong Mormon contingent who were hell-bent on disrupting the proceedings.  

Jan went on to champion the cause of women and Mormon women in one of the most patriarchal and conservative states in the USA. 

Her story is one of plucky and determined resolve to support women's rights in the face of institutions, culture and even her own faith tradition.

 

Direct download: Jan_Tyler_V2_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:31pm MDT

Sam Young was recently excommunicated from the LDS Church.  His sin was 'advocating' for a change of policy to prevent Church Leaders from asking children sexually explicit questions.  He had collected the testimonies of hundreds of abuse victims,  but this was not enough to prevent his ousting.   Sam's Disciplinary Council and Stake President were more disturbed by his challenging the Church leaders than they were by the hundreds of instances of abuse he presented to them.

In this interview, we explore the spiritual journey that brought Sam to a reckoning with the church to which he has given his life.

Direct download: Sam_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:52am MDT

LDS sacrament meetings are decidedly low church but without the possibility of any variation or innovation - anywhere in the world.  And it's been that way for decades.

Bradley Burgess a convert to the LDS Church from South Africa, is a graduate of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. A professional organist and church musician, Bradley currently serves as the full-time Associate Director of Music and Worship Arts at a large North Carolina Methodist Church. He joins me to discuss his hope for an ecumenical model of LDS worship that draws on the best of other Christian traditions.

Direct download: Burgess_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:58am MDT

It comes as no surprise that the Roman Catholic Church is suffering a crisis of credibility over its handling of cases of church-related and clergy perpetrated sexual abuse.

Dr. Rocio Figueroa was involved in uncovering cases of serial sexual abuse in Sodalico, a conservative Roman Catholic society in Lima, Peru by its founder Fernando Figari, its vicar Herman Doig and other senior leaders of the movement.  In doing so she encountered institutional cover-ups and denials that caused her own dark night of the soul.

Drawing on the research relating to sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church Rocio joins me to discuss the conditions that enable sexual abuse in religious contexts.

Rocio specializes in issues related to women's studies, and reciprocity between men and women. In the Holy See she was responsible for the Women’s section in the Pontifical Council of Laity (specifically creating networks between the different international Catholic associations which promote the dignity and value of women).

 

Direct download: Rocio_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:57pm MDT

Few institutions are more equipped to peek in on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with more understanding, sympathy and even critique than the Community of Christ.  They too have been dealing the same history with which the Mormons have been struggling.   But they are a generation or two ahead of the Mormons, suffering the natural convolutions and troubles that come from any institutional reckoning.  As a result, they know what it means to pay the price for, and then to enjoy the spiritual liberation that comes from squaring up to your tradition's past sins.

Andrew Bolton, a former apostle of the Community of Christ, joins me to discuss ‘the problem of Nauvoo.'

Direct download: andrew_bolton_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:43pm MDT

Tom Mikota has designed special effects on such blockbuster movies as Avatar, King Kong, Tintin etc.  But it wasn't until he was shoulder tapped to work on the 360 degree Joseph Smith film on Temple Square that things began to occur to him.  After a lifetime of faithful service, he was introduced to the contradictory first vision accounts that he was employed to represent as an employee of the church.

In this interview, we walk through Tom's faith crisis and we confront the question, 'Can I continue in the church without the trappings and social markers of orthodoxy?'

Direct download: Tom_Mikota_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:10pm MDT

Tim Kosnoff is a US attorney who has spent the last two decades representing victims of sexual abuse.   His introduction to the  LDS Church and their lawyers was when he represented Jeremiah Scott who was sexually abused by a serial paedophile Frank Curtis.  His work, in this case, appears in Lisa Davis' legal thriller, 'The Sins of Brother Curtis.' 

This case has lead to a practice in which he has come to represent over 150 Mormon sexual abuse victims bringing him face to face with the Mormon law machine time and time again.  

Tim joins me to discuss his experiences as a representative and advocate for sexual abuse victims against the LDS Church. 

Direct download: Kosnoff_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:44pm MDT

While Mormons claim Joseph Smith as the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is still very much Brigham Young's church.  Brigham's leadership was formative in shaping the LDS movements as it is today.   The husband of 55 wives Brigham's influence was more than organisational.  He was also responsible for establishing a patriarchal structure and suite of doctrines and practices that affirmed that loyalty to the highest priesthood office in the church was the church's primary orthodoxy, and the feminine role was to honour that priesthood.

So, what of those who directly inherited Brigham's legacy.  What of his female posterity?

Great, great, great granddaughters of Brigham, Kristen Jensen and Crystal Chamberlain along with the great great great granddaughter of Zina Huntington (one of Brigham's wives) join me to discuss what it means to have inherited Brigham's legacy along with the wounds of their grandmothers.  

Direct download: Granddaughters_of_Brigham_Young.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:58pm MDT

Duane Jennings is the author of the two-volume series "Stumbling Blocks and Stepping-Stones."

In this conversation, we consider (notwithstanding current LDS policy) an LDS queer theology through the Wesleyan Quadrilateral of scripture, reason, tradition, and experience.

 

Direct download: Duane_Jennings_Absolute_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:33pm MDT

In 1990 the Pace Memorandum reported the findings of General Authority Glenn Pace in which alleged victims described ritual abuse.  This was followed by a Utah State Legislature investigation in which hundreds of alleged victims were interviewed.   These testimonies were later dismissed as 'false memories.'

Yet, research indicates that the undermining of these testimonies was not best professional practice for the mental health community.  Tara Workman-Tulley is a Provo based therapist who specializes in complex trauma.  Many of her clients continue to report childhood experiences of ritual abuse that have uncanny similarities.

Tara joins me to discuss sexual abuse and sex trafficking in Mormon communities. 

Direct download: Tara_Tulley_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:56am MDT

Benjamin Knoll and Cami-Jo Bollin discuss their new book, 'She Preached the Word:  Women's Ordination in Modern America.'

Their study uses novel survey data that reveals a surprising relationship between political orientation and an acceptance of women's ordination.   This, of course,  raises one of America's most pressing questions: How strongly are America's religious sensibilities shaped by their much polarized US political scene?

Direct download: Ben_Knowles_Cami-Jo_Bolin_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:37pm MDT

A meditation to accompany our thinking and feeling into how we once or are currently living in Fowler's Stage Three: Synthetic-Conventional Faith.

Direct download: Sarah_ZH_Stage_3_Meditation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:50pm MDT

Sarah Hughes-Zabawa rejoins me to discuss Fowler's Stages of Faith:  The Synthetic-Conventional Stage.

Stage Three is usually entered into during adolescence.   It's that stage in which we imagine that our views represent an accurate and faithful totality of truth.   This stage also sees us looking at institutions as the bearers of that truth, and we reward those institutions with our agreement and consent to their authority.  During this stage, we come to believe that there are goals to accomplish and in meeting those goals we'll please God and receive blessings.  But, as we'll discuss, stage three also has its complications.

Direct download: Sara_Hughes-Zabawa__Stage_Four_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:38pm MDT

In June 2014 Kate Kelly, the vocal spokesperson for Ordain Women, was excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for apostasy.

Kate Kelly had led a high profile campaign including two actions on Temple Square in order to ask the President of the LDS Church to pray about whether or not women should be ordained.   This public petition that eventually included hundreds of women from around the world was met by a resounding silence and denial by the LDS leadership.  But it was Kate's excommunication that either catapulted women out of the church or aroused a new awareness in the faithful that the church they had thought of as benevolent had, in this case, acted vindictively and egregiously to support the supremacy of the patriarchy.

Katie Langston, Nancy Ross and Brittany Mangleson, women who arrived at an impasse after the excommunication and chose to pursue ordination in other faith traditions join me to discuss the impact of Ordain Women on them and the Mormon feminist community.

Direct download: Kates_Excommunication_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:53pm MDT

Sabine (name changed) served faithfully in the church for years.  Then several incidents involving her children occurred causing her to act swiftly to protect them from bullying and shaming from adult leaders.   The result was a fall-out with her local LDS community followed by a request that she no longer enter the church premises.

Sabine's is one of many stories in which solvable interpersonal problems are compounded by poor pastoral practice, difficulties in dealing with interpersonal difficulties, an attachment to affirming the status of leaders and a subtle rejection of parents as the ultimate authority when it comes to their children.

Direct download: Sabine_Final_Two.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:17pm MDT

Brian and Gina discuss the complexity of the experience of Mormonism when confronted with eyes wide open to both its past, its present and its changing contexts.

Direct download: Brian_Whitney_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:15pm MDT

Kirtland is a singular place in the history of the LDS movement.    The Kirtland Temple once stood as a symbol of a faith that shattered and splintered upon Joseph Smith's death.   Now it's a powerful symbol of a shared history and language of faith rooted in multiple denominations.   As a spiritual home to many, the Kirtland Temple, cared for by the Community of Christ, is remarkable in its power and willingness to gather in all expressions of the Restoration. 

Tom Kimball joins me to talk about the Kirtland Temple or as she is affectionately known, 'Grandmother'.

Direct download: Tom_Kimball_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:49pm MDT

Mormons don't have a robust theology of the cross.  They are more inclined to say that, 'We celebrate the Living Christ, not the death of Christ'.  Though Mormons claim to be Christian this defining sign of Christianity is missing, while other symbols taken from Free Masonry are abundant.   Michael Reed, author of 'Banishing the Cross:  The emergence of a Mormon Taboo' joins me to discuss how this circumstance came to be.

Direct download: _Michael_Reed_The_Cross_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:29am MDT

Derrick Clements and Gina Colvin get real about the price of motherhood in this somewhat Mormon flavoured review of Tully by Jason Reitman, starring Charlize Theron.

Direct download: Tully_CMMR_Edited_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:34pm MDT

In Part Two the World Ministry Tour of President Russell Nelson, Sister Wendy Watson Nelson, Elder Jeffrey Holland and Sister Patricia Holland comes under fire.

Direct download: Ministry_Part_Two_Bleakley_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:59pm MDT

Peter Bleakley offers optimistic and enthusiastic commentary on the new ministering programme currently being rolled out to replace Home and Visiting Teaching.

Direct download: MinisteringPart_One_Bleakley_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:54pm MDT

Gina and movie reviewer Derrick Clements discuss Love, Simon.

"Everyone deserves a great love story, but for 17-year-old Simon Spier, it's a little more complicated. He hasn't told his family or friends that he's gay, and he doesn't know the identity of the anonymous classmate that he's fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying and life-changing."

Direct download: ep_5_-_Love_Simon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:57am MDT

Dr Michael Ferguson is a research fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital for Harvard Medical School.  He works at the intersections of culture and brain.   His active research includes cognitive neuroscientific investigations of intelligence, memory, depression, religiosity, depression and spiritual experience.

 

Michael joins Gina to discuss the relationship between religion, church, spirituality and God.   They go deeply into the question of where and how we feel the spirit, and how the spirit is ultimately an embodied experience.  

Direct download: Michael_Ferguson_Final_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:35pm MDT

The Old Testament can be a bit confusing.   Biblical scholar Prof. David Bokovoy, joins Gina Colvin to discuss the things that are handy to know in order to really appreciate the Old Testament as a sacred text worth considering today.

Direct download: David_Bokovoy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:33pm MDT

Historian Newell Bringhurst discusses the background to his seminal work, "Saints, Slave and Blacks: The Changing Place of Black People Within Mormonism."

Originally published in 1980, Newell's important contribution to racial politics in the LDS Church is being republished by Greg Kofford books in light of the 40th year anniversary of Official Declaration Two, which extended the priesthood to 'all worthy men.'

Newell joins a chorus of scholars who argue that the Priesthood denial was less about Blackness than it was about White supremacy and as such isn't really worthy of the celebrations that the church intends in the coming months.  


Direct download: Bringhurst_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:22pm MDT

"There's no point at which we can say, 'I've got it.'   Always and forever, mystery gets you.  Our searching for God is a search for symbols, analogies and metaphors.  All theological language is an approximation, offered tentatively in holy awe.  That's the best human language can achieve.

We must absolutely must, maintain a fundamental humility before the great mystery.  If we do not, religion always worships itself and its formulations, and never God."

So says Fr. Richard Rohr, and thus contemplates art historian and medievalist Professor Nancy Ross.  Nancy reflects on the place of art in religion in the West and how that has shaped her own spiritual development. 

 

Direct download: Nancy_Ross_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:35pm MDT

General Conference is often scheduled at the same time as Holy Week.  While there is much in LDS History to suggest that the formal organisation of the church occurred not coincidently with Holy Week of 1830, we are according to Bob Rees, still missing out on the most important season of the Christian year.

In this discussion, Bob and I share our passion for Holy Week and talk about how we would love to see it taken up in LDS liturgical and contemplative practice.

Direct download: Bob_Rees_Holy_Week_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:31pm MDT

Sara Hughes-Zabawa returns to discuss Fowler's Stage Two: The Mythic Literal stage.

We discuss the power of story and mythology as important tools of meaning meaning-making.  Rather than see them as inducements into lives of unreality, we celebrate the universal human need for signs, symbols, and stories.

Direct download: Sara_Hughes-Zabawa_Stage_Two_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:29pm MDT

Mormon feminist writers and commentators Sara Katherine Staheli-Hanks and Tresa Brown Edmunds respond to the MTC President sex-scandal, and generally to the problem of sexual abuse in the LDS Church.

Direct download: Tresa_Skish_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:46pm MDT

Laurie Dipadova-Stocks, a former Stake Relief Society President; Royleane Otteson, a former Ward Relief Society President, and Laurie Lee Hall a former Stake President and now an excommunicated transwoman attending Relief Society discuss women's ministry in the LDS Church.

They speak candidly about what has gone wrong and how it can be fixed.

Direct download: Womens_Ministry_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:23pm MDT

A couple of years ago Jena and Glyn Jones sold up everything they had and went on the road on a hunch that God had a mission for them.   On their last dollars, and to their great surprise they ended up parking their RV in Short Creek and from there everything changed.

Today, they are directors of the Short Creek Dream Center located in Warren Jeffs' compound.   Little did this family of Pentecostals ever foresee that their service and mission would be to the apostate FLDS community.

Direct download: Hilldale.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:14pm MDT

Faith change or Impasse is often met with a resistance to our early life stories of the Divine.   

In this Lent series episode #3 Katie Hagen and Steve Otteson talk about rediscovering Jesus, finding new stories of the Christ and their journey to discern the theologies that support their awakenings.

Direct download: Hagen_Otteson_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:40pm MDT

In this episode, Jana Spangler (Salt Lake City) and Peter Bleakley (London) have a hard conversation about what is troubling the LDS Church and they seek to grapple with these questions. Is there any hope for change in the LDS Church?  Should the church change?  What could change?  Who could bring that change?  And whether or not change in the LDS Church is even worth hanging around for?

Direct download: Spangler_and_Bleakley_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:04pm MDT

Thomas Merton poses a question for Lent, "Where do we turn for Forgiveness?"

In this panel discussion from the 'Mormon Lenten Study for Mormons', Jennifer Koski, Sara Bybee Fisk and Elisabeth Boothe join me to revisit the idea of forgiveness as a practice that includes both grace and lament.   Far from being a legal calculation based on justice, forgiveness offers the world wholeness in an unfathomable divine calculation.

Direct download: Lent_Forgiveness_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:56pm MDT

William V. Smith joins me to discuss his forthcoming book, ‘Textual Studies of the Doctrine and Covenants:  The Plural Marriage Revelation.’

Section 132 continues to be a thorn in the side of the LDS church, yet it is the foundation for much of Mormonism’s temple, marriage, gender, and family theology.   Bill and I discuss the social and historical context out of which section 132 emerged, how to read the text, and how it can be understood.

Direct download: William_Smith_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:50pm MDT

Lindsay Denton, Melissa Beh and Josh Brazier and I are members of a Lenten Study Group for Mormons.  Together we discuss the journey into renewing our spiritual practices.  We talk about  Lent and how it serves as an ideal time for contemplation and the renewal of our faith lives.

Direct download: Lent_Panel_Ash_Wednesday_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:33pm MDT

Who is God, Blaire?   

Thus, begins a discussion that unsettles, moves, disrupts our taken for granted conceptions of the Divine.   

The God of process theology doesn't entirely fit the script of the male, authoritarian, patriarchal, unchanging, anthropomorphic God written into the contemporary LDS curriculum.  But it does fit an early Mormon emergent theology that brings God closer to the chaos and change of humanity.  To be God and human, Blaire argues, IS to change.

Direct download: blaire_ostler_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:23pm MDT

A guided meditation from Sara Hughes-Zabawa to companion our reflections on Fowlers Stage 0-1.

Direct download: Final_GM_Fowler_One_SHZ.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:56pm MDT

In thinking about Fowler's stages model, adults don't tend to discuss the childhood phases.  Yet, we all have parts of each stage present in us, whether some have been mostly passed through, and others are nascent.

In this series of podcasts with Sara Huges-Zabawa (LMSW) we revisit and consider each of these stages and their spiritual usefulness.  Sara also offers a guided meditation that helps us reconnect with their beauty and wisdom.

Stages 0-1 are worth considering, particularly as parents, as we navigate the spiritual and religious socialization of our children.  But they are also instructive for adults and thinking about them helps us make sense of our early faith beginnings. 

 

 

Direct download: Final_Fowler_One_SZH.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:51pm MDT

How racist was Joseph Smith?  Can the LDS Church really claim Jane Manning James as an example of Joseph Smith's progressive ideals?  There's plenty of evidence to suggest that Joseph Smith had a theological imagination for Indigenous Americans, but what did he really think of African Americans?


Direct download: Max_Perry_Mueller.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:21am MDT

Co-authors Judith and James McConkie discuss their breakthrough  historical Jesus primer for Mormons;  'Whom Say Ye That I am?: Lessons from the Jesus of Nazareth.  

Direct download: McConkie_JJ_Historical_Jesus.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:38am MDT

Thomas McConkie offers a healing meditation.

Direct download: Healing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:39am MDT

Mindfulness teacher; author of ‘Navigating Mormon Faith Crisis’; and Founder of the Lower Lights Sangha, Thomas McConkie,  joins Gina to discuss contemplative Mormonism and some of the spiritual practices that are attached to the contemplative traditions.

 Thomas also offers January 2018’s guided meditation on ‘Healing’, and we chat about some of the resources available that support the Mormon contemplative community.

Direct download: TWM_January_Guided_Meditation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:33am MDT

With all of the chatter happening in Mormon circles about Prophets, Apostles and Presidents I talk to two people about prophets and prophecy.

In Episode 226, Rev'd Megan Herles-Mooar, an Anglican priest and theologian, talks about Walter Brueggemann's 'The Prophetic Imagination' and the role that prophecy plays in the life of the church.

In Episode 227, Chris Kimball the grandson of the 12th president of the LDS Church, Spencer W. Kimball, talks about what it means to have a Prophet in the family.

Direct download: Chris_Kimball_FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:28am MDT

With all of the chatter happening in Mormon circles about Prophets, Apostles and Presidents I talk to two people about prophets and prophecy. 

Rev'd Megan Herles-Mooar is an Anglican priest and theologian.  We discuss Walter Brueggemann's 'The Prophetic Imagination' and the role that prophecy plays in the life of the church.

Chris Kimball is the grandson of the 12th president of the LDS Church, Spencer W. Kimball.  In this conversation, we talk about what it means to have a Prophet in the family.

Direct download: Megan_prophets_and_prophey_FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:16am MDT

Two former Bishops who have both experienced a faith crisis respond to the question:  'How can LDS leaders behave more sensitively and with more wisdom to those experiencing a faith crisis?'

Direct download: Ganesh_Rich.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:54am MDT

The 2018 A Thoughtful Faith Podcast theme is 'Faithful Change.'  Every month we provide a Homily, a meditation on spiritual matters.  For January Gina shares a reflection on Divine Absence.

 

Direct download: Homily_January_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:39pm MDT

In a frank discussion, Rebecca Sachiko Burton talks about being the mother of seven children and how she manages parenting with wisdom and openness on the 'Big Tent' side of Mormonism.  

Direct download: Rebecca_Sachiko_Burton.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:37pm MDT

Derrick Clements and Gina Colvin give a quick nod to Thor: Ragnarok and then provide a thoroughly Mormon review of Star Wars VIII.   

Direct download: CMMR_ep_4_-_The_Last_Jedi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:38pm MDT

Mormon Temple policy doesn't change a great deal from year to year, so the 14 December 2017 announcement that extends the rights of Baptistry officiation to 16-17 year old boys was a surprise.

While this might bring gasps of pleasure for the boys, there are, naturally, questions and concerns with respect to the impact this has on Young Women who have been given administrative duties.

Joanna Smith and Paula Baker join me to discuss the implications for Mormon girls and women.

Direct download: baker-smith_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:31pm MDT

It seems most unMormon for anyone to receive a call to ministry.  Mormons are supposed to wait for someone in the church to extend that call and as things stand no call for women in the LDS Church involves ordination.  But what happens when Mormon women hear the call? 

In this discussion The Rev. Dr Fatimah Salleh, and candidate for ordination, Katie Langston, talk about where their calls to ministry have taken them.

Direct download: Fatimah__Katie_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:10am MDT

Dr.Bill Bunn is a BYU psychiatrist who specializes in adolescent and young adult psychiatric disorders.  He joins me to discuss mental illness, the brain and neuroplasticity.  We also consider how scrupulosity and anxiety disorders present among young Mormons and missionaries.

Direct download: Bill_Bunn_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:55am MDT

With the promise of education, social mobility and gathering to Zion, many Tongan and Samoan Mormons have made Utah their home.  But what are the challenges for Polynesians growing up in Salt Lake where wealth, church leadership, education, and opportunity continue to be a  racial privilege?  What are the psychic and cultural costs for those children who live between two worlds without really being grounded in either?

Direct download: moana_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:14pm MDT

In May 2015 Gina Colvin & Nathan McCluskey recorded a frank conversation about how faith crisis was affecting their marriage.  Two and a half years later they find that their differences are now even more marked.  Yet, in spite of their now occupying different moral worlds,  their differentiation  has given rise to new and more profound ways of being in relationship with each other.

Direct download: Ginath.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:59am MDT

Manhattan-based Psychotherapist Wendy Christian discusses patriarchy in the LDS Church and how this imbalance hurts everyone including men and boys. 

Direct download: Wendy_Christian_Toxic_Masculinity.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:41pm MDT

Tom Christofferson's spiritual journey as a gay man took him from Mormonism, out, and back again.  Rima Tamaiparea-Puke's spiritual journey as a gay man took him from Catholicism to Mormonism and back to Catholicism.  Both stories attest to stories of deep faith and religious devotion.  Both stories speak to the need in all of us to be reconciled in one way or another to the faith of our families.

 

 

Direct download: Rima_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:31pm MDT

Ganeshji Cherian, Sarah Howard, Quintin Howard and Nathan McCluskey discuss the cultural mismatch of American Mormon culture with New Zealand culture in the wake of Jacinda Ardern's becoming the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Direct download: Kiwi_Chat.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:37pm MDT

Tom Christofferson is gay and he's Mormon.  His recently published book 'That We May Be One' is a touching memoir of love, loss, and faith.  We discuss the story within his story that our life's journey be underscored by a demonstrative, kind and gentle love, particularly for our LGBTQ brothers, sisters and children.

Direct download: thomas_christofferson_fina.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:08pm MDT

Filmmaker, Kendall Wilcox and I delve into the question of why the LDS Church has poured so much legal and political energy into the preservation of heterosexual marriage and its corollary debates over religious freedom.

Direct download: kendallwilcox_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:19pm MDT

Ian Thomson is a public defender in Boise, Idaho.   

In this podcast, we deconstruct the ideology and practice of excommunication.  We also discuss how enmeshed LDS excommunication is with the US judicial system.

Direct download: Ian_Thomson_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:53pm MDT

Amiee Flynn-Curran is a non-Mormon ethnographer who did her PhD fieldwork in the Oakland First Ward of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Amiee’s was interested in finding out how a conservative Christian church community negotiates the question of gender and sexuality inclusivity.   For 18 months Amiee participated in the life of the Oakland First Ward as a participant researcher.

Amiee shares some of her research conclusions as an observer looking into how social politics is played out in an LDS ward widely hailed as one of Mormonism's most liberal congregations. 


Direct download: Amiee_Curran_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:01am MDT

Melissa Inouye is Chinese, Japanese American and grew up as a Mormon in California, aware of her cultural and ethnic differences from the general LDS population.

Melissa reflects on the experience of being Asian in the LDS Church along with other reflections on Mormonism and God and spirituality in the religious margins.

 

Direct download: Melissa_Inouye_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:50pm MDT

Low retention and a failure to contextualize means that the LDS Church continues to be a minority faith tradition in South American.   Missionaries who are called to serve from nations outside,  are more often than not culturally incompetent to proselyte in this region of the world and sometimes do more mischief than good.  With complex economic and political conditions and even more strained historical relationships with the United States, missionaries and General Authorities too often speak into a cultural void,  organising the LDS Church around ideas that work in Utah but have little relevance anywhere else.

Samy Galvez (Guatemala) joins me to discuss the Latin American Mormon context and to critique the issues of class, religion, politics, race, culture and ethnicity that are either overlooked or misunderstood in LDS Latin American mission and ecclesial practice.

Direct download: Samy_Galvez.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:17pm MDT

Laurie Maffly-Kipp is the Archer Alexander distinguished Professor at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics in St. Louis.  As an observer of Mormonism, she has researched Mormon mission and the way that the LDS Church replicates it self in places beyond it's Utah centre.

In this conversation, we discuss Mormonism as a Wasatch Front cultural transplant and consider the issues that arise for both local cultures and for the church as it seeks to be a relevant and vibrant worldwide faith tradition.

Direct download: Laurie_MK_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:12pm MDT

On August 15, 2017 the LDS church issued the following statement:

"White supremacist attitudes are morally wrong and sinful, and we condemn them. Church members who promote or pursue a “white culture” or white supremacy agenda are not in harmony with the teachings of the Church."

Moroni Benally (Navajo) discusses the implications for a church where white supremacy and its many manifestations have been at the very heart of the church's identity and its organizational world view.   For the first time, the church has publically called themselves into question.   And not a moment too soon for these indigenous Mormons!

Direct download: Moroni_Benally_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:27pm MDT

"Rachel Hunt-Steenblik wrote 246 small poems exploring aspects of our Heavenly Mother. And BCC’s own Ashley Mae Hoiland complemented these poems with more than 40 original drawings. The result is an intimate discussion of the deep human longing for a Mother God." 

Direct download: Rachel_Hunt_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:45pm MDT

Lancaster University PhD student, Sheldon Kent discusses the esoteric and mystical influences abroad during the early days of Mormonism.   In particular, he discusses Emmanual Swedenborg and the impact that this 18th-century philosopher and church man had on Joseph Smith's theology.

Direct download: sheldon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:02am MDT

Rich Vial is a Republican representative in the Oregan State Legislature.  He's also a former Mormon bishop who went through a faith crisis during his tenure.  In this episode, we discuss how to go about having difficult conversations with those who are ideologically and religiously different from ourselves, and how to do that with grace and compassion.

Direct download: Rich_Vial_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:11pm MDT

Jenne de Normandie Eregiro Alderks was a teenage convert from Unitarian Universalism.  When she joined the LDS church her mother, knowing somewhat of the strict gender roles in Mormonism, asked her,  'Can you really be a Mormon woman?'

Jenne has spent many years trying to do exactly that and her efforts to be a Mormon woman have surprisingly led her to seek feminist spiritual practices outside of the faith.  This quest has taken her to temple studies, paganism and Gnosticism as supplements to her spiritual life.  

One of the hallmarks of the restoration was Joseph Smith's openness to other spiritual traditions and ideas and this seeking has been kept alive in Mormon feminism.  Jenne's spiritual seeking is part of a rich intergenerational tradition of Mormon women who quietly keep alive the faith's mysticism.


Jenne is one of the founders of LDS Wave and Birthing Zion.   She works as a doula and lives in Seattle Washington.

Direct download: Jenne_Alderks_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:42pm MDT

Gina Colvin and Bill Reel (host of the popular podcast Mormon Discussions)  get together for a chat about what it takes to still be engaged in the LDS Church when so many of their friends have left.   They discuss the development of their young testimonies but reflect on how difficult it has become in recent years to love the church with the same enthusiasm they once had.  They consider how LDS Church could be better for those who crave a deeper and a kinder experience at church.  They also consider their futures as Mormons.

Direct download: Bill_and_Gina_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:11pm MDT

Dr Alan Jamieson is the senior pastor at the South West Baptist Church in Christchurch, New Zealand.  He is an author of multiple books on faith development.   We talk about the implications for those ministering to those in faith crisis and how church leaders and communities can best respond to those with doubts and questions.


Direct download: Alan_Jamieson_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:07pm MDT

LDS Bishops are at the front line as Mormons facing their own questions, concerns and doubts seek their counsel.   Too often these local leaders surmise that the person expressing doubt must have done something wrong to get there.   'This isn't the case', says Bishop Jones, a sitting Bishop in Seattle.   

In this episode, we discuss how those in faith crisis are often at their most vulnerable and afraid and how they can be ministered to with kindness and spiritual presence.

Direct download: Bishop_Matt_Jones.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:17pm MDT

This week Derrick Clements and Gina Colvin cast their critical Mormon eyes over 'Wonder Woman.'

Direct download: ep_3_-_Wonder_Woman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:22am MDT

Mormons all over the world are gathering online in increasing numbers.   They do this to process their past, present and future relationships with the church.  It is online that they find people who understand their growing or changing faith lives   The increasing size and complexity of Online Unchurched Mormonism attest to its utility.

But without the formal rules, manners and ethics found in face to face community, online 'progressive' or post-Mormon communities that provoke challenges that signal the community's volatility and vulnerabilities.

Lindsay Hansen Park, Natasha Helfer-Parker (who joins us later on in the conversation) and I talk about the benefits and challenges of Mormonism's fastest growing congregation.

Direct download: Progressive_Mormonism.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:55pm MDT

We review Get out, Jordan Peele's break out satirical horror featuring British actor Daniel Kaluuya, and US actress Alison Williams.   While we wouldn't recommend seeing Get Out as a church or a Family Home Evening activity, we feel like it needs to be seen by everyone because of its biting treatment of the dangers of White American middle-class liberalism.

Direct download: Get_Out.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:53pm MDT

Join Gina Colvin and Derrick Clements for a fun, cheeky, slightly irreverent but joyful review of the latest at the box office!

This week we review 'The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2'

 

Direct download: CMMR_1_-_Guardians_of_the_Galaxy_Vol._2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:18pm MDT

Too often the unique cultural identity of Canadian Mormonism gets lost in the noise of their neighbours to the South.  In 1977 Canadian author Margaret Atwood, said of the United States:

"About the only position, they have adopted towards us, country to country, has been the missionary position, and we are not on top.  I guess that is why the national wisdom vis-a-vis them has so often taken the form of lying still, keeping your mouth shut and pretending you like it."

In this podcast, Lindy Yamamoto and Robert Slaven call for more Canadian authenticity in the Mormon experience.  They also give Southern Alberta a hard time!

 

Direct download: Canada_Podcast_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:15pm MDT

Chantal Mukamurera is Rwandan.  She was born in Burundi, raised in Rwanda and grew up in Germany where she joined the LDS Church and married.  She's been Catholic, Mormon and is now preparing for the priesthood ordination in the Community of Christ.  

Chantal has moved across countries and religious traditions.  She has had to watch a genocide that took the lives of her loved ones.  She has also had to reevaluate the faith that had her heart for most of her adult life.  Chantal's journey is a lesson in gracious transition and change.

Direct download: Chantal_Mukamurera.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:02pm MDT

When Azul Uribe was 11 years old she was sent from Mexico to live with her Grandmother in the US.  She lived there for 15 years when she tragically discovered that she was undocumented.  After a 2.5 year battle in the courts she was deported to the Mexico with a 10 year ban from reentering the US, leaving behind a life, friends and loved ones.

In Part One we discuss how Mormonism's American cultural imperialism plays out in Mexico.  In Part Two we talk about how it came about that she was deported.

Direct download: Azul_Uribe_Part_Two_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:22am MDT

When Azul Uribe was 11 years old she was sent from Mexico to live with her Grandmother in the US.  She lived there for 15 years when she tragically discovered that she was undocumented.  After a 2.5 year battle in the courts she was deported to the Mexico with a 10 year ban from reentering the US, leaving behind a life, friends and loved ones.

In Part One we discuss how Mormonism's American cultural imperialism plays out in Mexico.  In Part Two we talk about how it came about that she was deported.

Direct download: Azul_Uribe_Part_One_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:19am MDT

During the month of May 2017,  we look at Mormonism across the world and how an American religion makes its way into cultural, national and social systems beyond the United States.  We discover that Mormonism isn't the clean and tidy fit that some have romanticised it to be.  Mormons outside of the United States invariably pay a heavy tax in trying to negotiate the cultural, social, economic and political demands placed on them by their Utah-based faith tradition.

Nepia Mahuika is a 6th generation LDS who was asked one too many times to choose between being Mormon or Māori.  

Direct download: Mahuika_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:17pm MDT

John Bonner (clinical social worker, singer and grower of flowers) joins me to talk about his growth into manhood as young and gay in one of the most religiously conservative areas in the Mormon corridor.  He shares his story of trying to make sense of his young self in a religious and social context in which his kind of manhood was daily rejected.   His story is heartbreaking but tinged with moments of delight as he gradually learns to accept, understand and love himself notwithstanding a faith tradition that has shown how little it values him.

Direct download: John_Bonner_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:36am MDT

Blaire Ostler joins me to discuss God -   God as feminine and masculine; God in Mormon theology; God as a plurality; God as a creator; God without the biological need to procreate; the God of our own imagination ...and much more.

Direct download: Blaire_Ostler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:55pm MDT

Daniel Hernandez, PhD Candidate at the University of Auckland, is Mayan but grew up in Rose Park, Salt Lake City, Utah among a mostly Tongan and Samoan community.  As both observer and participant in the various cultures of 'Brown Utah' we discuss Kava and the importance of cultivating and preserving traditional practices that build connection to home islands.

(Kava as a root extract  from a plant found in the Pacific Islands and is consumed as a drink in ceremony.  Both Kava drinks and the ceremonies associated have come under General Authority criticism from time to time.  BYU-Hawaii and some local leaders have banned it outright.)

Direct download: Daniel_Hernandez_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:20pm MDT

The Rev. Dr. Fatimah Salleh began life as Muslim, converted as a teenager to the LDS Church, served a mission, taught LDS Institute and then, responding to a call, she attended Duke Divinity School.  Following a period of discernment, she was recently ordained a Baptist minister.

Her call to ministry is part of a colourful journey into finding a God for all and for the least.  God is too often the product of a White Western Patriarchy and as a Black, Brown women whose spiritual life was percolated in the intersection of different faith traditions Fatimah is passionate about  preaching a God that holds, loves and ministers to everyone.

Direct download: Fatimah_Salleh.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:59pm MDT

The Book of Mormon has been claimed by the LDS Church to be a history of Native Americans.  While this proposition has been scaled back over the years it's still somewhat present in a literalist view of the text.  But why is it that Native Americans are only rarely and then selectively consulted in the conversation as to the book's origins?  Surely the church and Mormon scholars, if they take seriously this claim, should be beating a determined path to the door of Native Americans to receive their wisdom and input.  But they aren't.  

Thomas Murphy (Mohawk) and I discuss this dynamic;  why it might be? And, what is the potential for the faith in allowing for the very voices that are central to the Book of Mormon narrative. 

Direct download: Thomas_Murphy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:43pm MDT

Chris Smith is not LDS but has been fascinated with the tradition since he dated the local Mormon bishop's daughter in high school.  His research as a religious historian has lead him to the conclusion that Joseph Smith sought to resolve 19th Century America's political conundrums allegorically through the Book of Mormon.  He argues that Joseph's hope was that one day the church he established would redeem the USA and become the Kingdom of God on Earth.  

The Book of Mormon is not, he argues, a literal history of an extinct Native American civilization unless the civilization was experiencing exactly the same political, social, economic, racial and cultural issues that characterized antebellum USA.

Direct download: Chris__Smith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:29am MDT

David Conley Nelson has written an extensive account of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Nazi Germany in his book "Moroni and the Swastika'.  Desperate to keep the church alive during World War II  the Mormons exploited congruences between the faith and the Nazi Party with shocking results.  

Direct download: David_Nelson_Level.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:40pm MDT

I catch up with Sam Brown for a very quick chat about this cultural moment that sees us grappling with the question of the Book of Mormon as a 'translation'.

Direct download: Sam_Brown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:07pm MDT

Philip Barlow, Leonard J. Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture, and the 2017 fellow at the Maxwell Institute at BYU joins me to discuss the state of Mormon Studies.  We discuss the need for new conversations regarding the Book of Mormon and the place of Joseph Smith in the tradition.

Direct download: Philip_Barlow.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:03am MDT

Professor Richard Bushman's contribution to contemporary Mormon Studies cannot be overstated.  In this interview we discuss the need for a refreshed understanding of the idea of the 'translation' of the Book of Mormon; the imperative for a more supple Mormon conversation, and  the urgency for us to speak up with candor at church.  We also talk about the upcoming Mormon Art Center Festival at Riverside Church in New York City.

Direct download: Richard_Bushman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:10am MDT